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Nat Rev Cancer. 2004 Sep;4(9):727-37.

Transcription - guarding the genome by sensing DNA damage.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0936, USA. ljungman@umich.edu


Cells induce the expression of DNA-repair enzymes, activate cell-cycle checkpoints and, under some circumstances, undergo apoptosis in response to DNA-damaging agents. The mechanisms by which these cellular responses are triggered are not well understood, but there is recent evidence that the transcription machinery might be used in DNA-damage surveillance and in triggering DNA-damage responses to suppress mutagenesis. Transcription might also act as a DNA-damage dosimeter where the severity of blockage determines whether or not to induce cell death. Could transcription therefore be a potential therapeutic target for anticancer strategies?

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